"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Take the Vicar to school day
I took my friend and spiritual sounding board, James to school on Friday. James is an Anglican vicar in pioneer ministry. He is young and charismatic. When we were having a beer I said Do you fancy coming to school with me for the day? never seriously expecting him to agree. He did and in the cold and sober light of morning it still seemed like a good idea. I told him what classes I would have and what topics we were studying and he said he'd give it some thought and see how it went.
Well, they couldn't fail to like him. He'd sit at my desk while I did the register and set them a starter activity and in the end one of them would ask me
Who's that man?
Ask him yourself.
Who are you?
James. (Without looking up.)
There followed a silence while they'd digest this piece of information while James busied himself with something on my desk. Then eventually ...
What are you doing here? (Or in one case - with some anticipation - Are you taking the lesson today?)
I've just come to see what goes on in a High School R.S. lesson.
Are you a teacher then?
What are you then?
I'm a vicar.
You're not are you? Do you believe in God then? Do you go to church? Why aren't you wearing that collar thingy? How do you know Sir?
I am. Yes. Yes. I don't really bother much with it. He's my Dad.
Is he? Sir you're a Vicar too aren't you? Does it run in families? I can see the likeness.
The lesson progressed and I did my bit and James chimed in helpfully. Then the temptation to go off topic was too much for them...
James, do you pray?
And with no embarrassment James would go on to tell them about his spiritual life which they listened to attentively and with respect while I encouraged them to jot down some notes from the board on the lesson's official topic.
So you two talk about God? How does that work then?
Well, it's usually in the pub over a few beers.
You're allowed to drink alcohol?
At one point we drifted into a mini discussion on the afterlife.
So who goes to Heaven then?
Between us we talked about discipleship and I was miffed because we'd studied life after death but when I gave them the answer they were sceptical. James had them eating out of his hand.
I've been baptised. Does that count?
Well, there are some churches that say it does. Baptism is a sacrament and faith follows.
James looked sceptical
One of the girls told us that her mum had been baptised but she wasn't religious.
Ah well, faith hasn't come yet.
Snorts from James. Is that Lutheran?
The lessons felt a bit schizophrenic. I'd be encouraging them to discuss abortion (Yr 11) or Characteristics of God (Yr 10) and then suddenly ...
What do Christians think about sex then, James? (What? And I couldn't have answered that question?)
Hmmm ... we like it. In fact we like it a lot.
Are you really his Dad, Sir?